Our big vision is to build Healing House at Peace Place, a retreat place where overworked, out-of-balance and tired people can go to renew and heal without the use of drugs. Located in “Little Texas,” Tuskegee, Alabama, Healing House will be equipped with overnight-living cottages, Dr. J’s Movement Center for physical activities, a dining area in which to eat nutritious food, offices for alternative health practitioners, and more.
The Healing House vision has been developed over the course of my entire life’s journey. I learned about Edgar Casey in the 1980s, and i found that he helped people to get and stay well through alternative means instead of giving conventional drugs to patients to treat their illness. He treated the whole person through natural remedies; alternative methods, such as massage; and counseled them regarding every aspect of their lives.
I thought, Well, why can’t we have one of those? I took the very long and winding road to get here, but it’s now time. I know so many people who practice wholistic health–meaning they look at everything that goes toward making us healthy, including what we ingest, how we rest, time management, work/life balance and even a bit of astrology, chrystals and colors, to name a little. And then, i know many people who would love to be more balanced and healthy, and have no idea where to start. We have help for all of you!
Mother took care of my father’s mother, and she later took care of my father. She did great–for a woman in her early 80s, taking care of a husband in his early 80s! But she was getting tired. So I moved to the South to be with them. By that time, Daddy was bedridden. Taking care of him was definitely a great deal of work. It’s hard to weigh which was more work: trying to outsmart him when he was able to walk, so he couldn’t get out and walk off during the day; or making sure he was clean and dry once he was no longer able to get up and out.
When I moved to the South, I met people who turned me onto a caregiver support group. I didn’t even realize I was a caregiver. I was just here helping Mother take care of Daddy! I just went to the meetings to be polite and to be the minister I am. I laugh now because that denial is actually a thing! Many caregivers don’t know they’re caregivers; they just know they’re tired. And they perpetually need to take a nap. But that nap never comes–unless they can get away to a place like Dr. J’s Healing House.
After I started going to the caregiver support meetings, I realized I was a caregiver of my mother. If you are responsible for any aspect of another adult’s wellbeing, you are a caregiver, no matter what your age. Fortunately, this spitfire of a mother I have still cooks, feeds cows and dogs and manages her own meds, But she took herself out from behind the wheel and is more careful about being outside alone.
Our friend, Dana, came to visit after having some traumatic, grief-making experiences with her family. She is the first friend who has visited our home with the intentional purpose of healing. She commenced to sleep for two weeks. As a self-care specialist, I can attest to the healing power of sleep. She began to improve more and more over time. She tells people all the time about her “Selah Land” experience at “the Zoo!” That’s a reference to the 2011 Matt Damon/Scarlett Johansson movie because when she drove onto our land, it was the magical entry that made her think, “they bought a zoo!” The land invites you to come “set a spell.”
And that’s what our friend, Lina, did when her parents made transition within one year of one another. She had been their caregiver for the last eight years, and prior to that, they had lived with her for over thirty years. They were not only her parents, they were her friends. They had traveled the world together. Whenever she took her vacations from work, they all packed up and vacationed together. And suddenly, they were both gone. Not suddenly–but, yes, after 30 years, suddenly.
When she needed to get away from the house where they all had lived for 30 years, I was honored she chose to be with Mother and me. When she got here, she rested for a few days, and then she surprised us both! She began going for a walk every morning! She wouldn’t even do that at home! What we call Peace Place just tends to bring the self-care out of you!